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General Data Protection Regulation

Here you can find the official content of the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation) in the current version. All Articles of the GDPR are linked with suitable recitals.

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EXCEL vs. GDPR software – can you handle GDPR with Excel?

Excel and GDPR software comparison

Organizations often start their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance in an Excel spreadsheet.

However, the complexity of the compliance process, constant changes, consent revokes, and multiple organizational roles involved in the process quickly revealed that Excel might not be the optimal solution for maintaining Records of processing activities (ROPA).

EXCEL vs. GDPR software

Organizations often invest in compliance. However, despite their efforts, they frequently find themselves falling short of the desired outcomes.

In these cases, they typically require assistance in addressing fundamental GDPR requirements since the evolving nature of regulatory frameworks necessitates ongoing support and tools to support their efforts.

chart-1-How-are-you-currently-keeping-the-records-of-processing-activities-1

Professionals working in compliance will tell you that you are never 100% compliant since even the tiniest human error could lead to a potential personal data breach. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to achieve it.

Our research on GDPR compliance among DPOs from 29 companies found that most of them use Excel to keep their ROPA. However, most (82%) do not consider Excel the best solution for managing these records.

chart-2-do-you-think-Excel-is-the-optimal-tool-for-Keeping-Records of processing activities -ROPA

First compliance steps and GDPR challenges

Most Privacy Professionals turned to Microsoft Excel as their first choice for keeping ROPA and monitoring GDPR processes.

However, the chosen approach to compliance might be the key differentiator for your business – something your competition does not yet do in a fully transparent way.

If you are using Excel, maybe there are a few important questions to consider:

  • What will happen after years of keeping ROPA in Excel?
  • Can you track all the alterations to the data sets made in Excel?
  • Can you apply any GDPR policies to your datasets?
  • Have you considered all the risks of keeping ROPA in Excel?

Companies that keep personal data in Excel face enormous risks, like increasing vulnerability to data breaches, inaccurate records, unauthorized access to data, data loss, and more.

Although Excel does have an important application in everyday business, primarily because of its familiarity and accessibility, it will not enhance your company’s performance to meet GDPR requirements.

In the long run, the issues will pile up, and then it is back to step one and rethinking how you monitor, supervise, administer, and orchestrate GDPR processes.

Functionalities of the GDPR software vs. Excel

A GDPR software can untangle and set straight your compliance process, and it can provide the following functionalities:

The GDPR Article 30 addresses your obligation to keep records of all your processing activities. Some companies, especially B2C companies, have hundreds of different processing activities and a massive amount of personal data related to these activities.

We have discussed this in more detail in our blog Records of Processing Activities- ROPA

Using Excel poses a problem because it can’t connect ROPA to various IT systems storing personal data, so there is no way to manage them or have an overview of all processing activities.

The solution you are looking for needs to provide these actions and also track changes so you have a clear overview of all the changes, operations, and processing activities in your company.

Specialized software will help you centrally manage notices and propagate them to all consent collection channels, automatically updating them across multiple marketing layers.

Excel lacks insight into the personal data lifecycle and cannot track, monitor, and manage consents and preferences.

The Consent and Preference Management module gives you real-time insight into the complete personal data lifecycle from the moment of opt-in to the data removal.

This creates a clear view of activities and enables you to demonstrate compliance for any data subject on any level at any point in time.

Tracking your GDPR activities accurately goes beyond the capabilities of any Excel datasheet.

Software solutions like Data Privacy Manager can centrally manage notices and propagate them through all consent collection channels, so you always know where you stand before launching any marketing communication or activities.

Managing individuals’ requests about their data is still one of the most complex challenges companies deal with.

You need to locate personal data you have about the individual and provide them with information without undue delay and within 30 days of receipt of the request.

Any oversight in this process provokes the highest penalties under the GDPR.

The Data Subject Request module orchestrates, manages, and automates the entire process so that the IT systems where the data is stored can execute user requests timely.

Most companies engage third-party vendors, leading to the inevitable sharing of personal data, with data controllers holding the associated risks.

The challenge is making sure processing of personal data by a data processor is done responsibly and with respect to data subjects’ rights.

Data Privacy Manager helps companies understand the data disclosure basis for each data processor.

It allows you to define applicable safeguards to prevent abuse or unlawful access or transfer of data, something you can’t do in Excel.

Be transparent about what you do with personal data! Ensure individuals have access to their preferences and consents so they can opt-out if they want to but also opt-in for other consents through one interface.

Maybe your ideal scenario doesn’t involve your customers opting out. However, that is part of having healthy and relevant marketing contact lists.

There is no value in having a list full of contacts who do not find your content and offer valuable and relevant.

In the long run, it is a very effective practice, like decanting vine. It lets your contact lists breathe and shows real data based on real numbers, not just vanity metrics.

One thing to note is that 92% of customers stated that they would be more willing to trust a company with their personal information if they had control over what information is collected about them.

Keeping data in Excel will not give you information or real insight into the technical and business implications of data removal.

It gets more complicated when your customer or user uses more than one active service of the company, for which the same data sets are often required.

Data Privacy Manager automatically instructs different systems when data deletion needs to be executed and enables you to define data retention and removal operationalization on different data categories.

To understand the ins and outs of data removal, download our eBook:

Download e-book: GDPR compliant personal data removal

Deciding on Tools: Excel vs. GDPR Software

GDPR software is a specialized tool designed to help organizations manage their compliance with the GDPR, and Excel is simply not.

It lacks the specific features needed to manage complex GDPR-related tasks such as data mapping, consent management, and data subject access requests (DSAR) handling.

Furthermore, GDPR software offers better security and privacy features, ensuring that personal data is protected from unauthorized access and breaches.

It also provides records about everything you do with data and enables you to demonstrate compliance to regulatory authorities.

Overall, using GDPR software is a far more effective and efficient way to manage GDPR compliance than relying on Excel.

Although it initially requires more input from your team, in the long run, it offers a multitude of benefits and allows you to set up your privacy program.

 

Request a Data Privacy Manager demo

Let us navigate you through the Data Privacy Manager solution and showcase functionalities that will help you overcome your compliance challenges.

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